The cultural heartbeat of Iran, Shiraz, is an amazing mixture of rich history, vibrant life, and fascinating wonders. The city of poetry, wine, and love allows you to take a break from all the uneasiness and find yourself filled with the ecstasy of the intellectual and enchanting gravity of every part of Shiraz.
The pleasant weather of Shiraz and tall palm trees in the boulevards show you the heartwarming features of the south and raise your expectations for more gorgeous scenes to come.
Shiraz is where the illustrious Persian culture combines with art literature to create a dream city to explore and enjoy. The fascinating architectural design of Takht-e Jamshid or Persepolis from the Achaemenid era are some of the oldest remains of the glory of Persian culture. Cyrus the Great and Darioush I are two significant Persian kings in the Achaemenid Dynasty who are well known for their style of governing and democracy.
Shiraz was the motherland of many important people who changed the world through their works and ideas. “The Master of Speech,” Saadi, and “the Tongue of the Unseen” Hafez are two exceptional poets who were born in Shiraz and created some of the best poetry of all time about spirituality, philosophy, morality and love. Not only Iranians but also people of different parts of the world read their poems and enjoy the sweetness of their words as well as the deep meaning behind their works.
Although Shiraz was always a significant city in Persia or Iran, around 1750, during Zand Dynasty, the city became the capital of Iran, and many developments started in that time to turn Shiraz into a fairyland.
Today, the historical buildings and outstanding culture of Shiraz welcomes people from all around the world to see this mystery.
Archaeologists have found inscriptions from the Elam era that includes the name of Shiraz or “Shirazis”. However, there are some doubts about the meaning of this name. Some linguists believe that the word Shiraz can be divided into “Sher,” meaning “good” and “Raaz” which means “vine trees”. This hypothesis might be correct because Shiraz has always been famous for its wine, but “Sher” was not a common word in the south and southwest, which is where Shiraz is located.
Also, some others claim that Shiraz comes from the combination of two words, “Shahr” which means city in the Persian language and “Raaz” which translates to the mystery.
The name of Shiraz has been mentioned in many poems. One of the most famous ones belongs to Hafiz which says,
“How beautiful is Shiraz's unparalleled state
God save it from harm and the hands of fate.”
Shiraz is located in the south of Iran, which is the center of Fars Province that shares borders with, Yazd, Kerman, Isfahan, Khouzestan and Bushehr provinces. Shiraz is the sixth largest city in Iran, with a population of 1,651,000. The majority of Shiraz’s citizens are Muslims, but there are a variety of people with other religions living in this city as well.
You can see the map of Shiraz, here.
Shiraz is a city for all seasons, where you can stroll gorgeous streets during fall and enjoy the warm colors of trees. You can explore warm cafes in Shiraz during winter to enjoy drinking herbal tea, and if you were lucky, you could see some light snow. When summer comes, you can go to Hafiz and Saadi tombs, sit under the shadow of trees and listen to traditional music along with some of the most ear-catching poems of all time. However, Shiraz reaches the highest point of beauty in spring, when the air is full of the aroma of bitter orange blossoms, and each corner of the city is covered with colorful flowers.
During spring, you can visit Maharloo to witness the utter wonder of nature when the lake turns pink. Also, you should walk inside Shiraz’s Persian gardens, listen to the birds, smell the flowers, and watch the butterflies playing around them.
Shiraz International Airport
Shahid Dastgheyb, located in Dr. Shahcheraqi boulevard, was established in 1961 and renovated in 2005 to be one of the most essential and equipped international airports in Iran. Shiraz Airport has international flights as well as domestic flights to different parts of Iran. Providing Iran Visa on Arrival is also possible in this airport to help you visit Iran easier.
What Are Shiraz Top Attractions?
Every part of this astonishing city is blessed with an attraction to make you filled with admiration. Each historical era has added its unique beauty to the city to make Shiraz exceptional, lovely, and unforgettable for visitors.
About 60 Kilometer from Shiraz, the capital of Achaemenid, Takht-e Jamshid, or as the Greeks used to call it, Persepolis stands strong next to the mountain to represent the glory of Persia. Although a considerable part of the structure had been destroyed by Alexander’s order in a fire, you can still see how majestic the place looks like today. You cannot believe how people could create something like this without any modern facilities, after looking at the high columns and delicate stone works of the massive sculptures.
This excitement continues by seeing Naqsh-e Rostam, which is 14 kilometers away from Takht-e Jamshid. The fascinating stone-work in the middle of the Rahmat Mountain tells you the story of the Persian kings during Achaemenid and Sassanid Dynasty.
Since Zoroastrians believed that, the soil is sacred and it should not be polluted by corpses, Naqsh-e Rostam is the eternal home for Dariush the Great and other Persian kings.
After the arrival of Islam and becoming the official religion of Iran, Persian art got inspired by Islam, and Iranian artists could create some magnificent mosques in Shiraz and design them perfectly.
Nasir-al Molk Mosque
The most famous mosque in Shiraz, called Nasir-al Molk, is known for the unique color of its tile works. The delicate pink roses on the walls are the resembles of Shiraz gardens and can charm you with their beauty. After taking off your shoes and entering the building, you will be surprised by the interior design of the mosque where the sun shines on the colorful glasses, and the dance of colors begins on the floor.
The best time to watch this fantastic scene and take photos is early in the morning until 11 a.m to see the mosque in its most fantastic time.
After passing a vast yard with a rectangular pool in the middle, you will face a massive entry designed with seven-colored tiles and Arabic calligraphy. You can feel the mysterious and enchanting atmosphere of the mosque right there when you put your first step inside and see a huge empty space filled with high columns and dome-shaped ceilings. If you are looking for a more quiet place to enjoy looking at Persian architecture, Vakil mosque is the best choice.
Shah-e Cheragh Shrine
The holy shrine of Shah-e Cheraq is one of the significant and popular shrines among Muslims to practice their religion. However, the doors are open for everyone to visit the magnificent architectural design and mirror works of the place. However, you can ask those in charge to make sure you can visit the main shrine as well. The floor is covered with precious Persian rugs, and crystal chandeliers are hanging from the ceiling to brighten the place. You can visit Shah-e Cheraq Shrine even at nights to see the golden color of the dome, shine in the darkness as well.
Note: Women need to have full hijab which is Chador for entering the shrine. Luckily the guards will give you one to use and return.
Shiraz has always been known for its fantastic Persian gardens. Eram and Delgosha Gardens are two of the most famous gardens in the city where you can see the pure greenness in the middle of the summer or during winter. The spectacular mansion located in the center of Eram Garden is decorated with mirror works and catches your eye at first sight. A long blue pool passes in the middle of the sidewalk and guides you to the mansion. The high palm and cedar trees surround you, but you can find many citrus trees as well.
The history of Delgosha Garden goes back to the Sassanid Empire, but it was renovated and used in other eras as well. The architectural design of the building inside Delgosha Garden is inspired by Zand and Qajar dynasty as well, so you can see Islamic tile works as well. The oil painting of the ceiling and the plaster design of the walls are phenomenal. The polygon pool outside of the building, which reflects the image of high cedar trees, is just in front of the mansion, and if you look around, the green trees and colorful flowers give a magical look to the garden.
You can enter the gate, walk toward a tomb, where eight high columns are supporting a dome that is made of marbles, You should visit Hafez Tomb in the evening to see the vivid colors of the plants, as well as, the dome shining under the sunlight, and witness how the place becomes poetic and beautiful at night.
Saadieh or the Tomb of Saadi in Shiraz is built around 1950 after being destroyed in the 17th century. The current architectural design, with its plaster and tile works, is inspired by Chehel Sotoun, located in Isfahan.
One of the unique parts of the Saadi Tomb is a reservoir that is sacred for people. They believe that if you have a desire and you are unsure about it, you can flip a coin into the pool without looking. If the coin dropped in the pool, your wishes come true and if not, you should be patient.
Vakil Bazaar, located in Shiraz, is one of the most famous historical bazaars in Iran that attracts visitors. The combination of colors, along with the smell of exotic Persian spices, are the bold features of the place. You can walk inside the bazaar, look at the dome-shaped ceiling and touch Qashqai carpets, which enchant you with their red background and unique patterns. Persian handicrafts, colorful fabrics, and jewelry can be found inside the bazaar as well.
Syrah or Shiraz Wine is a well-known, high-quality, and popular wine all around the world. This drink is made of Syrah or Shiraz grapes, which has a purple color. There are some mythical stories about the discovery of Wine. One of which says that king Jamshid ordered his servants to extract fruit juice and they did so, but some of the juice tasted bitter. Jamshid thought they turned to poison, so he told his people to hide them. One day one of his servants became very sick. She was in acute pain and wanted to kill herself. She found the grape juice and drank it, but she was happy and healed the next day, so Jamshid realized that the drink makes people cheerful, and he continued making and drinking it.
Although after Iran’s revolution making Shiraz wine is banned in Iran, this wine became a brand in the world, and today France, America, and Australia use Syrah grape to make this drink under the name of Shiraz Wine.
What Are the Most Popular Restaurants in Shiraz?
Haft Khan Restaurant
Haft Khan Restaurant, located in Rabbani Boulevard, has a marvelous architectural design to attract you with the first impression. A variety of delicious food such as local, traditional, international and seafood are being served in the restaurant.
The gorgeous design of the restaurant is a combination of brown and cream color with the stone and plaster works of the wall. Some modernized Persian Takhts are available in the traditional part of the restaurant to make you feel comfortable and enjoy your Persian meal.
Ghavam restaurant is located in Roudaki Street, just in the heart of the city where you can access it without any problems. This traditional restaurant is where you can taste delicious Persian and local food and enjoy the atmosphere. The old pictures on the walls, the traditional decoration of the sitting area and the dome ceiling of the restaurant can convince you to try its homemade food.
Sharzeh Traditional Restaurant located in Zand Street is where you can find high-quality Persian foods along with listening to live music. The wooden chairs and tables which are covered with Persian fabrics represent the traditions of Iran. You can also ask for vegan and vegetarian foods in this restaurant as well.
Located in the Qasrodasht Street, The Secret Garden or Bagh-e Raaz is a lovely Persian Garden which is turned to a restaurant to provide an unforgettable dining option for you. The large glass windows of the restaurant make the place bright and let you sit beside them and enjoy looking at the garden while eating your food.
Shapouri House Restaurant
Shapouri Restaurant, located in Shapouri House, which is a historic mansion and garden in Shiraz, is one of the most famous and luxurious restaurants in the city. By the influence of Qajar art and Shiraz’s special features, Shapouri mansion looks like a white palace in the middle of a garden.
You can sit beside colorful windows, enjoy the sunlight, and find the utter taste of Persian foods by eating your meal.
Shiraz is a city to be explored thoroughly, so you need more than a day to visit every aspect of this city. Thankfully, you can find traditional and modern places with different range of prices to stay. In order to find your ideal accommodation in Shiraz among many available options, you can check out 16 Best Hotel and Hostels in Shiraz to know which place suits you best.
There is something magical about Shiraz that makes you fall in love with this city. The hospitable people of Shiraz, the unique attractions, and its pleasant weather are calling you for experiencing an unforgettable journey.
⭐ Best For:
Cultural and Historical Sites, Relaxed Atmosphere, Moderate Climate, Poetry
🕌 Top Sights:
Persepolis, Pasargadae, Nasir-ol-molk Mosque, Vakil Mosque Eram Garden
🛏️ Where to Stay?
Zandieh Hotel, Karim Khan Hotel, Panj Dari Traditional House, Taha Hostel
😋 What to Eat?
Kalam Polo, Shirazi Salad, Faloodeh
💭 Interesting Fact
Shiraz and Fars province are known as the epicenter of the first Persian Empire (Achaemenid Empire | 550 - 330 BC). The Achaemenids ruled over 44% of the world's population from their one of their main capitals, Persepolis, close to Shiraz city!